Castro Does Not Make May Day Appearance
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News this ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Unidentified Man: Raul Castro (unintelligible).
LOURDES GARCIA: Through applause, Raul Castro arrived at the monument of the revolution. Wearing green army fatigues, Fidel's younger brother was again the public face of this island, presiding, this time, over May Day celebrations that are a big deal at socialist Cuba. This is only the third time since Fidel became leader of this country that he's missed a traditional Worker's Day parade. And so, gone this year were the hours long speeches. Instead there were brief opening remarks made by the head of the May Workers Union, Salvador Valdez.
SALVADOR VALDEZ: Viva Fidel.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Viva.
VALDEZ: Viva Raul.
VALDEZ: Viva (unintelligible)
VALDEZ: (Foreign language spoken)
GARCIA: Raul stayed silent through out the event - waving at the hundreds of thousands who followed pass carrying flags and placards - some wearing bright red shirts. There had been speculation that Fidel would appear today. He's been seen looking robust in recent pictures. And he's written several editorials in the official press - the latest one published today.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GARCIA: There were also international guests from New York, Nicaragua and Europe - who sympathized with the Cuban revolution - in attendance. Nelson Lorson came with the Canadian Workers delegation.
NELSON LORSON: Cuba offers an alternative to some of the more consumer- issued type of society that we live in. Fidel, obviously, will not be around forever. It doesn't really make much difference. The experiment that he started and the example that he set, I think, a majority of people here want to keep it going.
GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navaro NPR News, Havana.
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